Friday, December 31, 2010

Three for three ....

That's right .... 3 quilts got finished for Finn's New Year's Eve challenge this year and I'm thrilled to pieces. Three quilts done!!!

My Flowering Stars was done back in November. That was a good start. Then my SSCS gift was done. The stitchery center piece was bought about 5 years ago at a North Bay thrift store for $.99 cents and it sat in a bin since the day it came home with me on the bus. It now has a lovely home in Australia and is abandoned no more.

My final finish is this sofa quilt that was a Xmas gift to a niece and nephew.

This has been a good year for finishes. At a glance, you can see what I've done this year by looking at the left side of my blog; scoll down until you see a bunch of quilt photos. I'm on a roll and am curious to see how many finishes get accomplished during 2011. The clock is ticking away here ...... and my fingers are just itching to stitch and quilt.

To all my friends and readers out there in blogland ..... have a Happy New Year and happy stitching for 2011!

Monday, December 27, 2010

SSCS gifts all around

First off, I have to thank Chookyblue for hosting another fantastic Secret Santa Christmas exchange. Please visit her blog to see what has been sent around the world. She has posted photos of ornaments that we all received and opened when we got our gifts.

Now that Xmas is over, it is time to reveal what I received from Nicole. Isn't my doll adorable? Her name is Matilda. The last doll I received for Xmas (around age 5), she had beautiful long hair. I mention had because the next day her hair got cut off as I was really curious to see what her hair would look like short. As you can imagine, that was the last doll that was given to me. Nicole, I promise that I won't touch a single strand of Matilda's hair. :o)Matilda is a Christmas doll (her dress has snowflakes) and I wanted to display her properly. Before Xmas, DH and I were browsing at a thrift store and this huge sleigh caught my eye. Would this fit Matilda?

Yes .... perfect! Matilda is holding the ornament that Nicole made for me. Thank you, Nicole for my gifts!!

It is my turn to reveal what was sent to my exchange partner, Peg.
This wall hanging ...

... and this ornament.

There you have it, another year of world gifts.

Have a great day!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A little bit of this and that

So far, on my klosjes quilt .... there are 58 blocks quilted up (182 still to be done). I was on target by completing 5 blocks a day. Then, my arms and hands felt like they were on fire. I was doing too much hand quilting and had to stop for a few days. Nowadays, only 2 or 3 blocks are getting done per day. That means the quilt will not be ready for the deadline entry for next year Quilts Canada in London, Ontario. Boo hoo!! I'm sad, it was going so well for me. Oh well ..... So, what to do instead? Well, I found this embroidery pillowcase to complete and have been working on that. These pillowcases will go nicely with my klosjes quilt.

As well, side triangles have been added to my Just Blessings top and a few rows sewn together. A few more of the little stars need to be made and then appliqued onto the top. Then it will be time to play with the borders.

Once my Just Blessings top is put together, there are other projects waiting in the wings for their turn on my design wall.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Words and more words

Three years ago, I was inspired to make this quilt. Tonya from Lazy Gal Quilting was having an on-line challenge for quilters to make a winter word quilt and I jumped in head first.

All of my quilts are so prim and proper and this type of quilt was totally outside of my comfort zone. I'm sure a few of my followers were probably wondering what was I thinking. :o)

I followed Tonya's tutorials for making the letters and the snowflakes, the wonky trees and the wonky house. There is a lot of me in this quilt and it is by far one of my favourites. Tonya's new and first book: Word Play Quilts is out and if you want to be brave and try something new, this book is a good place to start. Go over here to Tonya's post to see all the other links for wordy quilts and enjoy.

To read more about my WINTER quilt, go here and scroll down through the posts for the explanations as to why I chose my letters and the scenes.

For me, there are ideas for a SUMMER quilt just dancing around in my head. Perhaps 2011 will see a new wordy quilt coming along.

Thank you, Tonya for inspiring so many of us and best of luck with your new book!!!

Have a great day!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Quilting tools

Thanks ever so much for all your comments and positive vibes for me to get my klosjes quilt done before the deadline for the quilt show entry. So far, I'm still on track .... yeah me!

There were some questions about what I use for batting and markers. To help you, these are what I use:

Batting - both are by Hobbs. Other brands have been used in the past, but these are consistent with the loft (no high and low spots).
Markers - you can go here to read about my workings with these markers. There are a few do's and don'ts. Just scroll down through the posts.

Thread - these are what I use for quilting thread. This thread doesn't break or snap when pulling on the quilt to make the bed. There is one quilt that needs to be fixed because the quilting thread snapped in places (I actually heard the thread snapping). Also, my thread gets waxed and if anyone is interested, a tutorial can be made up for you.

Needles - the head on these needles are bigger so that the heavy thread slips through the eye fairly easy.

There, now you know what I use for hand quilting.

Have a good day!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Klosjes Quilting time

Here is a sneak peek of what my quilting looks like for my klosjes quilt. My goal is to enter this into Quilts Canada 2011 show that will be held in London, Ontario. Deadline for entry is Feb. 11, 2011. I have figured out that 5 blocks a day need to be done in order for me to finish by the end of January 2011 .... thus giving me a bit of a breather if one day that quantity is not met. So far, I'm on schedule. So, only time will tell how this turns out. Wish me luck!

Have a great day!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Klosjes basting

Winter is here and the time has come to do some hand quilting. My queen size klosjes quilt is all marked up and ready to go. Usually, my quilts get basted on the floor; but it is just too hard these days to get down on hands and knees to do that chore. So, I'm trying this new method and so far it is much easier than I thought.

My two trusty assistants are on hand to help me out. Ashes is busy making sure that the basting thread doesn't get tangled up .... .... and Hank is making sure the backing and batting doesn't shift too much.

They were such big help .... that is until they both took off on a tear around the house. The working bit is over .... it is play time!
Have a great day!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hearts are going

This is the top that is going tomorrow morning to New Zealand. In my previous post, there is a link to the lady that is collecting heart blocks. I figured by the time my blocks are received, it might be a tad too late to do anything with them .... so that is why I decided to make them into a top to help speed up the quilting process. I hope that whoever receives this quilt finds some comfort during their time of sorrow.

My father worked in the mines for a very short time when my parents were first married. I know that he did not like going underground to work and thankfully he was able to find other work to support his growing family.

Top size: 39-1/2" x 55"

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gathering hearts

I just read this afternoon about a call for heart blocks to be sent to New Zealand to be made into quilts for the families of the 29 miners that perished this week. All my hearts have been cut out and I am in the process of sewing them onto the 6-1/2" square fabrics. If you are interested, please visit Shirley Goodwin's blog and just scroll down to read all about the Healing Heart blocks. So, my hearts will be going to New Zealand early next week.

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Times are busy

More circles and leaves have been prepped ..... ... to do the final 3 blocks .....
.... as well as marking up this challenge UFO for machine quilting. Oh yes, times are busy around here.

To my American neighbours .... Happy Thanksgiving!
Have a great day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Finish # 1

Well .... it feels so good to have my first UFO finish for Finn's New Year's Eve Challenge. This is it .... Flowering Stars! Here is a side view so that you can see some of the hand quilting effect.

One down .... two to go.

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Needlepoint Display

Many thanks again to Chookyblue for organizing another weekend of cross-stitch and needlepoint 'show and tell'.

I've done a few pieces and to start off, this one is of the hotel at Lake Louise. When we drove to the west coast of Canada many years ago, I so wanted to drive to Lake Louise. Instead, we went to Banff and were equally awed with our visit there. This piece has shown its' age and I will need to replace the mat. This piece never got framed. The mountains and the lake and the colours just called my name.

This was a kit that my Mom bought for me just after DH and I were married. This was a labour of love. The mountains and the church just speak to me. I think the setting of this scene is from Austria and that is where some of my ancestors came from.

I did a few tissue holder boxes....which we still use today.

There are 2 UFO's that need to be finished. This one of iris flowers is really hard on my eyes. The canvas is single strand and that is the reason for me shelving it (over 25 yrs. now). My other UFO is a kit that I bought in England ... but I can't find it .... will have to go on a hunt for it.

My Mom made this one of an English cottage garden. She did many needlepoint pieces and I'm lucky to have two from her.

... and she made this one of blue flowers and gave it to me a few years ago for Christmas.

She has 2 UFO's that I will finish for her.

So, now you have seen another side of me other than quilting.

Go on over to Chookyblue's post for a list of people that are participating this weekend and enjoy!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Got to out-smart

I finally figured out a way to out-smart Miss Hank to keep her off my quilting hoop.

I've been marking my klosjes quilt for hand quilting and switch between quilting my star hanging and working on my klosjes top. Usually, whatever I'm working on, Miss Hank has to climb onto it and lay down for a nice long snooze. You can imagine how frustrated this has been for me. So, I keep the other project close at hand and when she climbs onto my quilt frame, I just reach over and drag the other project over to my chair, fiddle around with it a bit and then Miss Hank hops over and settles down for a snooze on that ... ..... leaving me to quilt to my heart's content or mark my klosjes quilt top. For my star quilt, there is only one more border to do and then the quilting part is done.

Yeah me, for figuring out that little trick; otherwise it would have been a very long winter with a lot of the cold shoulder treatment from Miss Hank.

Have a great day!

Friday, November 12, 2010

X stitcheries

Chookyblue is having a display of cross-stitch projects and invited others to join her. Here are just a few of my stitcheries.

A very long time ago, I used to do cross-stitch and needlepoint and crochet and knitting and a lot of clothes sewing. Those hobbies have taken a back seat now that I spend most of my time quilting.

This stitchery dates back to the 80's when orange and yellow/gold and browns were the colours that were very much in vogue. These were the colours of our living room furniture and dining room which I loved very much. Times have changed and those colours are very much gone from our furniture and our rooms ... but I still love them and looking at this stitchery brings back fond memories. These tree ornaments were made during the 90's. I had forgotten about them while routing through my stuff to see if there were any more stitcheries hanging around. I found a bag with another 6 of these gold frames as well as the pattern booklet. Guess I should have another go at making more of these ornaments.
I had forgotten about these X-stitch blocks and unearthed them while looking through bins. These are about 10 yrs. old and the time has come to do something about them too. I'm thinking of doing these blocks as a 'quilt as you go' project ... but will have to wait until the new year to do anything about them. Ummm ... I see another UFO in the making. :o) My SIL bought some blocks at the same time and she just finished her quilt this year.
There is another x-stitch pillow that I made ... but it is at our cottage and that is a 5-1/2 hr. drive away from here ... so it will be a no-show for this show and tell.
Next Saturday, I will show needlepoint stitcheries.
If you would like to see more cross-stitcheries .... visit Chookyblue's post and enjoy.
Have a great day!

Monday, November 8, 2010

English Paper Piecing

Today, I'm going to write about English Paper Piecing (aka EPP) and applique. Making hexagons first started me on this method. In the past, I have tried needle turn, freezer paper, liquid glue and glue sticks. They all worked for me; but I was just curious to try different methods of applique. EPP is the last method and my favourite so far (that is until something new comes along). It is a bit time consuming but I like the fact that my applique pieces are firm and they don't tend to move around a lot when being appliqued.

So, here is how it is done (only for hand applique - this will not work for machine applique):

A - Cut out your paper template (remember .... your paper template) without any seam allowance. Place template on the back of fabric and pin in place. Be sure to leave enough material all around the paper template for seam allowance. B - Here is my template cut out showing seam allowance.
C - When I'm ready to start basting, the pins are transferred from the back of the template to the front. If the template is large, place a couple of pins in the centre of the template to stop your fabric from stretching too much when the fabric is folded over the edge of the paper. Before I figured this out, my completed fabric template would not lay flat as the fabric stretched and pulled the paper template out of shape giving me a slight bowl shape.
Continue folding and basting the fabric all around the edge of the paper template. On the curves, take your scissors and make tiny clips so that the fabric will fold over nicely on the curves.

D - This is what the front will look like once complete .... see ... nice and flat.

E - This is what the back will look like once your template has been basted.

F - This is what the back looks like after the fabric template has been appliqued to the background fabric (the background fabric has been trimmed away).

G - The basting threads have been removed from the front and the paper template has been removed.
If you don't want to remove the background fabric; then just make a slit in the background fabric (anywhere inside the applique edges) and insert your finger into the slit and remove the paper template.

H - Follow the same steps for the stems and leaves.

i - Shows all the paper templates removed.

J - The finished block.

This is the layout for all my applique. The fabric templates have all been pinned in place and now all I have to do is pick a block and sit down and applique while watching some TV. This pattern will be a lap quilt ....

.... while this top is a wall hanging. I still have not completed the embroidery for the vines but will continue working on this hanging after it is taken down from the wall. I'm waiting for the beginning of December to roll around so that I can replace this top with a Xmas hanging.
Can you see why I love pumpkins? These are all my pumpkins that have been collected over the past few years and I suspect a few more will be added as time goes by.

Now you know how I do my applique.
Have a great day!